November 27, 2015.
A little bit of revenge today as I head back to Waterville Valley to try for South Tripyramid again. Last April I turned back due to the snow conditions and today the conditions are ripe for some payback. The mountains keep flipping between snow covered to bare due to the warming trends we have been experiencing so I should be able to do the loop with no issues. Heading up counter clockwise for this one as I have already been up the North Slide way back in 2011. I do need to get the small piece between the summit of North Tripyramid and the top of North Slide. When I first hiked it I didn't know the trail turned off to the left at the top of the slide and kept going up into the woods following some herd paths to the summit. If everything goes good I'd like to pick up the rest of Kate Sleeper Trail also but will see how things are once I reach that junction.
A good start time as I leave the Livermore parking lot at 7:30 and head up the all too familiar Livermore Trail. From the trailhead it looks like it is going to be a decent day as I get a shot of Waterville Valley from the parking lot. There is another car in the lot and it has been there overnight so not sure where they would stay out here as there are no shelters in this area. Heading up Livermore Trail and my early starts are always rewarding as I have the trail to myself. As many times as I have been up and down this trail I have never taken the time to enjoy the surroundings but today is different. Reaching the old access road where Livermore Trail veers to the left and just beyond the junction is a nice little slabby cascade on Avalanche Brook.
A few more minutes up the trail and I am back at the southern junction for Mt Tripyramid Trail. An easy crossing of Avalanche Brook and I am heading back up the trail under a lot better conditions than that rainy raw day in April with a snow covered trail.
Across Cold Brook and then what took an hour and fifteen minutes to reach my turnaround spot this time only takes fifty minutes. The conditions last April just plain sucked and I was not enjoying myself so there was no point in continuing on. Today I am looking forward to what lies beyond this downed tree and my first look at the South Slide.
The bottom of the slide is not far away, as I thought back in April, taking only fifteen minutes more to reach. The trail follows the remnants of a slide that let loose back in 1869. The same storm that created the North Slide also. A few minutes up the trail and there is a large boulder that has cracked open exposing it interior. It looks like layers of different material and quite cool looking.
Getting higher up the slide and the clouds are rolling in and the wind is picking up. Thankfully this slide is mostly grown in and somewhat protected by the wind. But it does have a bite to it when it ramps up. This is completely different from the North Slide, which is mostly exposed slabs of granite, as the base is loose gravel making for pretty good footing heading up it.
Back into the cover of the trees and there is a short scramble up some jagged ledges. Beyond the trail breaks out into the more open gravelly slide once more where I pass by the junction for Kate Sleeper Trail. Unsure of what the weather is going to do I don't want to get caught on an out and back if it makes a turn for the worse. Plus I would rather save that section of trail for a better day as I really want to see the full destruction that Tropical Storm Sandy did back in 2012.
The final pitch is in the woods through a broken bouldery section then the trail mellows out easing up as I reach the summit of South Tripyramid.
A quick couple minutes hike across the ridge and then down into the col between South and Middle Tripyramid.
Just beyond the col and there is a large boulder with an overhang and a spot to crawl into if one so chooses. Nature's very own shelter! The ascent out of the col does not take long as the last bit of the trail to Middle Tripyramid involves a short scramble up through a slotted ledge.
The total trip between South and Middle takes just twenty minutes. Today there is nothing to see at the summit of Middle Tri so I just move along making my way to North. On the way I meet the first person of the day. It is Pepper and Me who is on his third round of redlining. I met John and his dog Pepper back when I did Mt Hale via the Old Fire Wardens Trail in April of 2012. After a good chat we continue on in our separate ways. Arriving back at North Tripyramid for the third time since I started hiking and I stop to take a break for food and water. I have one more piece of the Mt Tripyramid Trail to get and that is the piece between just below the summit down to the North Slide. When I was last here almost four years ago during the winter I took a look down the trail and didn't like the steepness. Well today no matter what it is getting knocked off the list. Heading down it is indeed steep but manageable. Thank goodness there is no ice or it would be a different story. The trail pops out onto the North Slide and I now see where I screwed up four years ago.
It is so obvious from this vantage point and I have no idea how I missed it that day but I did. Looking down the North Slide and it is as ominous looking as the day I came up it. Knowing what I know now and having a lot more miles under my belt I will be back to climb this slide again. I just won't do it after a week of rain like last time!
Back up the trail and then a turn onto Pine Bend Brook Trail. Third time on this trail and for some reason the trip down off North Tripyramid does not seem as steep as the last two times. Down in the flat section along the ridge and this is one of my favorite little ridge walks. It is made more mysterious today with the cloud deck being so low. I make it to the junction with Scaur Ridge Trail and usually there are views down in an opening where the moose like to lay down. One of these days I am going to see one up here on this ridge. Anyways there is nothing to see so I head down Scaur Ridge Trail reaching the crossing of a tributary brook that feeds into Avalanche Brook. It is not on any map and looking down the hill where it flows it looks inviting to head down it.
There is nothing wrong with Scaur Ridge Trail, it actually is a pretty nice trail with peek-a-boo looks at the North Slide, but sometimes it is nice to do something a little different. However, unsure where it actually leads I decide against it. While looking into some info for this write up I did come across a trip report where Steve Smith did head down that brook valley and I wished I had seen that report before because then I would made the same trip down. Oh well, something to add to the to do list. At the end of the trail it is a left turn back onto Livermore Trail and on the way out I stop to check out what looks like an old logging camp site. I have been by this spot a few times and each time wondered about it but never made the time to poke around. Taking the picture of a very old apple tree and today is the day I make the time. Heading to the "backside" of the clearing and it doesn't take long to find some artifacts.
Turns out this is the site of Avalanche Logging Camp and there is plenty of "stuff" to find amongst the brush. Buckets, barrels and possible indentations that resemble cellar holes. A pile of boulders that is definitely man-made.
Wandering back to Livermore Trail and on the other side something catches my eye and I go to check it out. Turns out it is a rusted old bucket but that is enough to keep me looking. Poking around and I find a old pot, Bed frame, stove pipe, another bucket, a bottle and a jar. Looking down the embankment and I find the bed frame graveyard. Not just in one spot but there are several spots where they just dumped the bed frames over the banking.
Satisfied with my findings and back to the trail where a large boulder house with the door partially opened. I have never noticed this boulder before in my many trips up Livermore Trail. At the junction with Snows Mt service road I take the left onto it. I have one more piece of business left to do today, I need the west side of Cascade Path. Back when I was redlining a bunch of trails up here I did not know that there were two trails, one on each side of Cascade Brook, for redlining. It is a quick fifteen minute walk along the service road to the beginning of Cascade Path.
Cascade Brook is one of the most picturesque brooks with its' cascades and waterfalls. In fact looking up the stream from the bridge by the trailhead there appears to be more cascades upstream. Might be worth a venture to follow the brook upstream someday. Down the trail and the first cascade is a short distance with the bridge in the background.
In my opinion this is the most dramatic of the bunch, at least from this side of the brook. Down at the bottom and the trail intersects with Norway Rapids Trail and my business with Cascade Path is done(redlined). I had forgotten until now how nasty the Norway Rapids were the first trip up here just after Irene and was hoping the crossing is passable today. Along the way I stop for a second for some water and looking around notice this yellow birch where there is a hole in the bottom of the trunk. It must have grown on a fallen tree which has long rotted away leaving the hole.
Reaching the stream crossing and thankfully it is doable. Nothing like that day back in October of 2011.
Across the brook and back up to Livermore Trail for the last stretch back to the parking lot. A drive up to Waterville Valley's parking lot and I get a parting shot of all three Tripyramids before I head home.
A successful day of finally doing all three Tripyramids in one trip. Something that has eluded me on three previous trips. Hmmmm...what's with the threes?
Final numbers: 13.4 miles, 8 hours and 5 minutes.
Redline Miles: 1.5, Total to Date: 1017.8